Wuzhen

Like many of the other famous water towns, Wūzhèn (乌镇) was part of the Grand Canal and prospered from trade and silk production. It's a major tourist attraction, and with its crowds and rows of souvenir shops its easy to write off Wūzhèn as inauthentic. But then you turn a corner and get a view of, say, an ancient stone bridge curving over a canal or a row of weathered Qing dynasty wooden homes, and realise: this place really is beautiful. It's also easily explored, with good transit links.